Search engine optimization (SEO) is a multifaceted process. Between link building, internal site audits and keyword research, knowing where to start can be overwhelming. With all of these options, one overlooked aspect in many SEO strategies is citations.
When monitored and done properly, updating citations can help bolster a company’s online local search presence. If a company neglects citations, potential clients or customers may see inaccurate or outdated contact information. In the worst-case scenario, citation mismanagement can create a much larger problem. Our digital marketing professionals could further explain the importance of building citations for SEO and help you implement them into your online marketing strategy.
What are Citations?
Citations are listings of a business’s proper name, address, and phone number (NAP) on third-party sites. These citations appear on social media platforms, review websites, and local business directories. Google uses this information to help collect and display local search results.
Oftentimes, when someone thinks of these citations, their first thoughts are Google Business Profile listings and social platforms like Facebook and Yelp. Beyond those options, some businesses have additional opportunities in local business directories and smaller industry-specific platforms.
When prioritizing SEO for law firms, sites like AVVO and Justia also work to list individual attorney names rather than the firm name. For this reason, legal marketing requires constant citation maintenance for the firm and individual attorneys to stand out.
Unlike link building, which aims to earn backlinks to a site, citations do not require other websites to link back to the site. Therefore, it may be easier to earn listings on different websites through citation, especially if a site has not yet earned any backlink authority. The goal of citations is to build a network of accurate information for Google and other search engines to properly locate and display a business on the search engine results page. Therefore, while the purpose of link building may overlap with citations, these should be treated as two separate SEO marketing efforts.
Why Are Citations Important in SEO?
Citations help the user and search engine identify the proper business information and optimize the search result experience.
For search engines, citations are used to index and compare information for businesses, namely NAPs. If citations are missing, inaccurate, or outdated, these discrepancies can wreak havoc on a business’s online local search presence.
If Google finds inaccurate or missing information when showing local search results, it may improperly combine different citation results from across the web. This could mean old phone numbers and addresses reappear and mislead potential clients. This makes updating and maintaining citations vital to any digital marketing strategy.
From the user’s perspective, proper citations provide accurate, immediate information. This helps the user contact the business they are looking for and simplify the consideration process. With inaccurate or incomplete information, the prospective customer may struggle to contact the desired business or give up altogether. As a result, improper citations could mean lost clients.
How Can I Build Citations?
Building quality citations on other websites can be a tedious task, but doing so can be quite beneficial for your local search rankings in the long-term. To help build SEO citations, follow this step-by-step process:
- Record all current and historic NAP information, like old addresses, previous company names, and outdated phone numbers. This will give you an idea of what information you should add and what outdated information may still lurk on the internet.
- Brainstorm a list of reputable platforms you think are relevant to your business. This can include a list of social platforms and directories where you think prospective clients may check when searching for your services.
- Find, create, or claim existing listings for your business on the various platforms if you have not already done so.
- Update existing listings and remove duplicates. Depending on the span of inaccuracies, it may be easier to make these updates in smaller spurts, rather than all at once.
Contact Our Digital Marketing Firm for Help with Citations
At BluShark Digital, we understand the importance of building citations for SEO strategy and how mismanaged citations may create problems in the future. To help, our agency combines technological monitoring with manual checks to ensure that all of the appropriate changes are made.
Citation updates require a certain amount of experience, and our team has the knowledge and skill to help your company solve current problems and build for future success. With BluShark Digital, we look ahead in the SEO landscape to help you maximize your digital exposure. In a competitive environment, these small but powerful SEO tools can mean the difference in earning a new client and losing potential business.